Ongenga protests against new church

05 Feb 2015 15:50pm
ONGENGA, 05 FEB (NAMPA) – Residents of the Ongenga Constituency in the Ohangwena Region on Wednesday staged a peaceful demonstration against the True Gospel Salvation Ministries, accusing it of noise pollution and influencing children negatively.
They marched through the streets of the settlement in the afternoon and handed their petition to the constituency councillor Leonard Shimutwikeni in front of his office at the settlement, situated some 50 kilometres north of Oshakati.
Spokesperson of the protesters, Julia Ndakeva read their petition before handing it over to Shimutwikeni.
The march followed a community meeting held at the settlement last Sunday, during which a group of residents accused the leadership of the said church of misconduct and bad faith.
Protesting residents waved placards which carried messages accusing leaders of the True Gospel Salvation Ministries leaders - Aune Shityeni and Festus Erickson - of misconduct, and demanded for the two to leave Ongenga with immediate effect.
Ongenga residents want the church closed down. They have levelled multiple accusations against the church such as that its leadership is causing the Ongenga community havoc and chaos since the faith’s prominence at the settlement in 2011.
According to the protesters, the True Gospel Salvation Ministries’ leaders instill hatred in the residents of the constituency by telling them through their preaching ceremonies that certain individuals in the community are demons and/or practicing witchcraft.
The Ongenga community also claimed that children of the local schools declined to provide answers to question papers during their last examinations after the leaders of the church allegedly told them that God will do it for them.
The children of the settlement have also allegedly opted to disobey instructions from their parents/guardians as a result of the influence of the leaders of that church.
Protesters also accused the True Gospel Salvation Ministries of noise pollution throughout the night.
Receiving the petition, Shimutwikeni promised that he will forward it to the relevant authorities without delay.
“Our office is not a storeroom for petitions. Therefore, I will ensure that your petition is forwarded to the relevant authorities immediately,” he replied.
Shityeni and Erickson, who were also present as the protesters handed over their petition to Shimutwikeni, refused to talk to the media.
Shityeni, however, accused the media of biased reporting.